Facebook escalates its war on Twitter with new real-time APIs for media firms

9 Sep 2013

From today, a number of select media organisations will be able to integrate real-time Facebook conversations into their TV broadcasts or online coverage. The move can be seen as a direct assault on Twitter, which has been consistently describing itself as a media company rather than a software organisation and launched services last year to tie in with key events like the Super Bowl.

Facebook today launched two new tools, a Public Feed API that displays a feed of information based on a specific word in public posts; and Keyword Insights API that aggregates the total number of posts that mention a specific term or by age, sex or location within a specific time.

Media organisations that have been selected to utilise the new tools include Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, BSkyB, Slate and Mass Relevance.

Future Human

Facebook pointed to the growing trend of people having conversations about TV shows while they’re on and said that last week’s kickoff of the NFL (the US National Football League) season garnered more than 20m likes, comments and shares on Facebook by 8m people.

Look who’s talking!

“Over the past few months, we have rolled out a series of products aimed at surfacing the public conversations happening on Facebook, including hashtags, embedded posts, and trending topics,” Facebook said in its news blog.

“We are committed to building features that improve the experience of discovering and participating in conversations about things happening in the world right now, including entertainment, sports, politics and news.

“Starting today, selected news organisations can begin to integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about any given topic. For example, CNN’s New Day can now easily incorporate what people on Facebook have to say about the latest, breaking news event during their show.

“Partners can also use these tools to show the number of Facebook posts that mention a specific word over a period of time, including a demographic breakdown for the people talking about that topic. For instance, now every week during the ‘What’s Trending’ segment of The Today Show, NBC can easily include how many people on Facebook talked about a popular subject, where it’s getting the most buzz, whether it’s most popular among males or females, and with which age groups,” the social network said.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years